Suckers (branches growing from the base of the tree), whorls (branches that grow from and encircle another branch) and water sprouts (thin branches that usually grow straight upright) are never going to bear fruit. They just sap energy from the plant.
Water Sprouts. Prune fruit trees by removing water sprouts (the branches that grow straight up) and tangled branches that restrict light and air into the center of the trees.
Water sprouts and suckers should be removed at the proper pruning time for each plant (see below). These grow straight up very rapidly. Water sprouts grow from branches. Suckers grow from roots. They often grow taller than the tree in a season.
Water sprout A vigorous sucker from the base of a woody plant.
Whip A long scion used for tongue and groove grafting.
Whorled Arranged around a central point; leaves not alternate nor opposite.
water sprout A vigorous shoot originating above ground on a plant's trunk, older wood, or bud union. Usually breaks from a latent bud. Often the result of heavy pruning.
~s - Rapidly growing shoots that arise from latent buds on branches or trunks.
Water stress - The condition whereby a plant loses water faster than absorbs it.
Weed - An uninvited and usually unattractive plant that surfaces in gardens.
Prune suckers and ~s from all fruit trees.
Fertilize the lawn this month.
Use a complete lawn fertilizer with a 3-1-2 ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
Blossoms, young fruits, small twigs, leaves and ~s are susceptible to infection. Blossoms and leaves wilt suddenly, turn dark brown to black, shrivel, and die, but usually remain attached to the plant.
Remove any upright limbs (suckers at base or ~s on branches).
Remove any broken or diseased limbs.
Always maintain the central leader as the highest point on the tree. The ends of the primary and secondary scaffolds should be kept below the top of the tree.
Overwintered OBLR larvae (spring brood) first feed on ~s and then move throughout the tree. Those feeding on developing flower buds do so before bloom and continue to consume floral parts throughout the blossom period.
The first symptom on ~s and shoots that are invaded systemically from nearby active cankers is the development of a yellow to orange discoloration of the shoot tip before wilting occurs (photo 2-22).
When trees are topped, they develop bristling "~s," or "suckers." "To the untrained eye, this looks as though the tree is rejuvenating," says Nuss. "But suckers don't develop into substantial limbs or produce enough leaves. They remain weak and spindly, and snap off easily in storms." ...
In general, rank-growing, vertical shoots (sometimes called ~s) arising from the ground or from horizontal branches serve no good purpose. These should be removed or cut back to lateral buds or branches.
Apple and pear trees should be pruned now. Remove all ~s (those little "sucklings" that grow from the root and around the base of the trees). Prune all branches that are shaded out by larger, more mature branches.
An epicormic sprout is a shoot that arises from latent or adventitious buds. Also known as a ~, they form on stems and branches, and suckers produced from the base of trees. In older wood, epicormic shoots can result from severe defoliation or radical pruning.
It is only necessary to prune back interfering branches or ~s. Additionally, any dead branches should be removed. Treat all cuts with pruning paste. The tree should be pruned into a vase shape so that sunlight can easily reach all of the fruit.
When heavily pruned, many fruit trees produce ~s that grow vertically from normal branches. These usually produce little, if any, fruit and should be removed before the vertical growth starts rubbing on other branches.
After two or three years, the tree should be well formed; after that, simply remove ~s, cut back overly vigorous leaders or branches, and thin out weak or crowded growth to ensure good air circulation.
Pull off -- don't cut -- ~s that grow from the base of the trunk in late spring. Pulling them off prevents regrowth. Finally, using two applications of horticultural oil prior to bloom will delay the pest's egg-laying cycle.
Almonds are pruned during early development and maturation to ensure strong branches that are able to support the heavy crop. Growers should try to maintain as much fruit wood as possible by limiting pruning to taking out dead and diseased wood, ~s, and crossing branching.
See also: What is the meaning of Sprout, Plant, Branch, Trees, Spring?